“This is going to be great for Kerry because it’s going to have an impact for the next 20 or 30 years.
“Rural Ireland is still recovering from the crash so we need to look forward and embrace these things. We need tourism and so we need to embrace projects like this.”
Des Lavelle, boatman and writer, said: “I want to see what they make of the Skellig because, for me, this whole operation has degraded the Skellig from being the star of every show to suddenly being a bit of set dressing for a cartoon.
“The spin-off, no doubt, will be great and the crowds will come but there will be no room for them on Skellig. It’s full already.”
Jimmy Deenihan, local TD and minister of state for the diaspora, said: “I think it’s spectacular and it’s going to do an awful lot not only for Skellig Michael but for Kerry and for Ireland.
“This will be seen by 200m people and maybe more and it’s on for three minutes — you could not buy that kind of publicity.”
Young audience members were just as enthusiastic. Gearoid Mulvihill, aged 12, from Kilcummin, said: “It was very good, especially the big battle scenes. I’ve never been on Skellig Michael but I’ve been around it. I’d love to get on it now.”
Riona Moran, aged 13, who hails from Portmagee, added: “It was amazing. It really showed off Skellig Michael and I didn’t expect there to be that much of it shown, so I was really happy and proud.”
Jordan O’Neill, 16, who hails form Waterville, said: “I’ve seen all the Star Wars movies but this is one of the best ones ever.
“My granddad Pat O’Neill is a boat driver and he took some of them out to the Skellig. When he told me he had tickets to go to this special screening, I was happy out because I was sorted but my friends were half jealous.”
Pat himself said: “Looking at Skellig Michael at the end of that picture was unbelievable. What’s going to happen when people see that? I wouldn’t have been a Star Wars fan but after seeing that, I wouldn’t mind seeing another one.”
Piaras Kelly, a film crew member from Beaufort, said: “It was absolutely fantastic, amazing. Two hours of my life just flew by. It really did Skellig Michael justice and I’m already looking forward to the next one. It’s a short clip of the Skellig but it was worth waiting for.”
Eileen Whelan, owner of the Skellig Mist cafe in Portmagee, said: “It was out of this world. I thoroughly enjoyed it, really and truly. The scenery of the Skellig was something else and how they zoomed in on it.
“I’d say I’ll have to extend my season next summer and possibly look at adding some Star Wars-themed food to the menu.”
Fred Browne, Knocknagoshel, an OPW worker on Skellig Michael, said: “It’s fabulous to give the rest of the world a chance to see Skellig Michael, my summer home.
“And there was so much care taken of the island while they were there and so much organisation before hand, I had no fear there’d be any damage caused.”